Press Releases

Catholic Charities Breaks Ground on First Phase of New Vision for Dorothy Day Center in Saint Paul

More than Half of Private Fundraising Goal Secured

Saint Paul, Minn. (October 8, 2015)—Today, Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis marked the groundbreaking for Higher Ground Saint Paul, the first phase of the new vision for the Dorothy Day Center.

About 300 business and community leaders attended the ceremony where it was announced that $23,629,000 has been raised toward the $40 million private Capital Campaign to fully fund the new vision for the Dorothy Day Center. The new vision for the Dorothy Day Center – an innovative model to prevent and end homelessness – has an estimated cost of $100 million and will be funded by an historic public-private partnership.

The full membership roster of 15 prominent regional and statewide business leaders who are spearheading the private fundraising campaign were also announced, including campaign co-chairs Doug Baker, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Ecolab; Mary Brainerd, Chief Executive Officer and President of HealthPartners; and Andy Cecere, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of U.S. Bank.

The Campaign launched in May with a $5 million lead grant by The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation—the most significant private investment to support Catholic Charities in recent history. At that time, Catholic Charities also announced commitments of $1 million each from the Frey Foundation and the Pohlad Foundation, and a combined total of $1.1 million from the Saint Paul Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation.

“We’re more than halfway to our private fundraising goal thanks to the generous individuals, businesses and foundations investing in this new vision to transform the Dorothy Day Center,” said Doug Baker. “We have great momentum, a ‘dream team’ of Campaign leaders and a generous community that is stretching to make it happen. We’ve come a long way, and we’ll keep working until we reach our goal to build dignified shelter, permanent homes and pathways out of poverty for those most in need.”

“It’s inspiring to see the response when we talk to people about the difference this project will make for our most vulnerable neighbors and for the broader community,” said Mary Brainerd. “We have a chance to be a part of something truly innovative – an approach that not only responds to homelessness, but helps to prevent and end it permanently.”

“Today marks a significant milestone toward a bold and ambitious vision,” said Andy Cecere. “The historic public-private partnership that has come together to transform the Dorothy Day Center – advancing permanent solutions to prevent and end homelessness – is a powerful example of what can be accomplished when all sectors of our community focus on a common goal. ”

DOROTHY DAY CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE LIST:
• Doug Baker, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Ecolab (CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR)
• Mary Brainerd, Chief Executive Officer and President, HealthPartners (CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR)
• Andy Cecere, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Bank (CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR)
• Tim Baer, EVP and General Counsel, Target
• Richard Davis, Chairman, President and CEO, U.S. Bank
• Tom Handley, President and COO, Ecolab
• Jim Bauman, EVP, Electronics and Energy Business Group, 3M
• Terry Dolan, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management and Securities Services, U.S. Bank
• Christopher Hilger, President and CEO, Securian Financial
• Carl Casale, President and CEO, CHS
• Pat Donovan, CEO, Bremer Bank
• Laura Oberst, EVP and Central Region Head, Wells Fargo
• Bert Colianni, CEO, Marquette Companies
• Carol Frey Wolfe, VP/Program Manager, Frey Foundation
• Jon Theobald, Chairman & CEO, Mairs & Power

State and local public officials attended and helped mark this progress—including Governor Mark Dayton, Commissioner of Minnesota Housing Mary Tingerthal, Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter, and Saint Paul Deputy Mayor Kristin Beckmann who made remarks. The campaign will continue to leverage significant public-private investments and partnership to prevent and end homelessness. To date, the State of Minnesota, Ramsey County, and other public sources have committed approximately $25 million. Catholic Charities and its many community partners will continue working to build statewide, bipartisan support for this critical project at next year’s legislative session.

All of Us Together: A New Vision for the Dorothy Day Center
This project, estimated to cost approximately $100 million, is based on an innovative and proven model run by Catholic Charities in Minneapolis, and will consist of a two-building campus to prevent and end homelessness:
Phase 1 – Higher Ground Saint Paul – this 5-story building will provide dignified emergency shelter and a range of different permanent housing options, including 193 units of permanent housing. Higher Ground Saint Paul will be located adjacent to the current Dorothy Day Center.
Phase 2 – Opportunity Center and Housing – located just across the street from Higher Ground Saint Paul, the 6-story Opportunity Center will be an integrated one-stop location connecting people to critical services to improve their health, income, housing stability and well-being. Service delivery at the Opportunity Center will feature partner organizations in the community, including Catholic Charities, Ramsey County, the Veterans Administration, health care providers and many others. 170 units of permanent housing are planned above the Opportunity Center. Catholic Charities has the goal of completing construction by 2018.

History and Project Timeline
In 1981, Catholic Charities opened the Dorothy Day Center as a drop-in center for meals, serving approximately 30-50 people per day. Over time, due to increasing homelessness, it was forced to become a 24 / 7 / 365 overnight shelter—something it was never designed or intended to do. It is overcrowded, overwhelmed, and deteriorating. Today, more than 6,000 people rely on the Dorothy Day Center each year, including hundreds of people who sleep on thin mats on the floor every night.

In 2011, for the first time in its history, Catholic Charities was forced to turn people away from the Dorothy Day Center, leading people to camp in the surrounding area – it was a breaking point that launched a community response. In 2012, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman convened a diverse Task Force of community leaders to assess the urgent situation at the Dorothy Day Center, and in 2013 the Task Force issued its recommendation for an innovative new vision to prevent and end homelessness.

“When this project is complete in 2018, we can stand together in these buildings knowing that we have made a significant regional and statewide impact,” said Tim Marx. “We know we are a stronger community when everyone is able to reach their full potential. This truly historic public-private partnership can and will make our community and our region a better place.”

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About Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis: Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis serves those most in need. We are a leader at solving poverty, creating opportunity, and advocating for justice in the community. Our programs for children, families and adults annually help nearly 30,000 people, regardless of faith, background or circumstance. Through our advocacy efforts, Catholic Charities serves as a tireless voice for those who often go unheard. Our work would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers and donors.